Free Blood pressure monitoring

We offer a free walk-in blood pressure monitoring service. One of our healthcare assistants will take your reading, which will then be followed by a consultation by one of our pharmacists.

High Blood Pressure (HBP) or Hypertension
We all need some blood pressure to keep blood circulating around the body, just like we need water pressure to get water from the mains to the tap. Blood pressure is dependent on two factors: How hard the heart pumps; and secondly how narrow the arteries are. Blood pressure is measured and recorded as two numbers – the systolic pressure (as the heart contracts) over the diastolic pressure (as the heart rests or relaxes between beats), for example 120 over 80 – which is a good result, 140 over 90 means you will be probably be re-tested, 160 over 100 and you may be prescribed medication, after lifestyle advice has been tried. Also if you suffer other conditions like diabetes then a lower result is the aim. The Diastolic pressure is important as it gives an indication of your blood vessels when the heart is relaxed. Around one in five people in the UK have HBP.

HBP is basically a symptomless disease and rarely makes people feel ill, but some symptoms in severe cases may include headache, bloodshot eye/s, regular nose bleeds and tinnitus (ringing in ear).

The only way of knowing if blood pressure is high, is to measure it. You are welcome to visit us at a convenient time for you and one of our members of staff will be happy to assist you.

NICE guidelines recommend target of below 140/90 for non-diabetics, and below 140/80 for type 2 diabetics with no further complications, and below 135/85 for type 1 diabetics with no further complications.

Prevention

Is best achieved through adopting a healthy lifestyle and healthy weight,being physically active, eating healthy and reducing fat intake, reducing any stress, reducing salt intake, stopping smoking, and finally if drinking alcohol then do so in moderation.

If blood pressure is still high after these measures, medication can be started to reduce the blood pressure to an aim of 140 over 90 or lower if pre-existing conditions like diabetes are present. There are many medications to reduce blood pressure, so if the first medication the doctor prescribes doesn’t suit you – eg you experience side effects – then there are others the doctor can prescribe. Remember to take your medication every day as the medication doesn’t cure high blood pressure.

Some common HBP medications

  • Diuretics: Bendroflumethazide, Furosemide, Bumetanide, Spironolactone, Amiloride and Indapamide.
  • Antiadrenergic agents: Doxazosin and Indoramin.
  • ACE inhibitors: Captopril, Quinapril, Lisinopril, Enalapril, Ramipril and Perindopril.
  • ACE antagonists: Losartan, Valsartan, Irbesartan, and Candesartan.
  • Nitrates: Isosorbide Mononitrate.
  • Calcium Channel Blockers: Amlodipine, Diltiazem, Felodipine, Nifedipine and Verapamil.

There is very little difference between the drugs in their efficiency for reducing HBP, however your Doctor may choose one over another according to other conditions suffered, your race, your age, or side-effects experienced. Many patients may require more than one drug to get their blood pressure down to good levels.

Why Test

The higher your blood pressure, the shorter your life expectancy.
As it is more-or-less symptomless condition many people are walking around with high blood pressure without realising it, resulting in possible damage to organs or risk of stroke or heart attack in the long term. This is why it is important to have regular checks which will easily identify any high blood pressure problems and treat it before damage is done.

Measuring High Blood Pressure

The usual way to test blood pressure is to insert your upper arm into a cuff, that inflates then slowly deflates as it detects the systolic then diastolic pressure (and pulse rate) and finally gives you a reading.

Before measuring blood pressure it is important to relax and perhaps sit down for about five minutes. Ideally the cuff should be on the same horizontal level as your heart and your arm comfortably relaxed on a table with your palm facing up.

The Results

Blood Pressure Category Systolic (mm Hg) Diastolic (mm Hg)

Action to take

Normal

less than 120

less than 75

Normal. Carry on as before

Normal

120 to 130

75 to 85

Normal. Review in a year

Upper Range of Normal

130 to 139

85 to 89

Recheck in a few months. Review lifestyle

Raised Blood Pressure

140 to 199

90 to 109

Visit Doctor within next week

Raised Blood Pressure

200 to 219

110 to 119

Visit Doctor in next few days

Emergency

220 or higher

120 or higher

Go to A&E

Related external Links

UK Blood Pressure Association

The European Society of Hypertension
The information given here is of a general nature, for particular information talk to your pharmacist or doctor, especially if you have any other diseases, are taking other medicines, suffer other conditions or pregnant etc.